Michigan State headlines Bracket update
We’re three weeks into the season, having enjoyed Feast Week, Thanksgiving, and the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. About time for a quick bracket update, don’t you think?
Says so here, too.
With victories over Kansas, Providence, and Louisville on its early resume, Michigan State sits at No. 1 on the Seed List, headlining the Midwest Region. The other No. 1 seeds in order are Kansas (South), North Carolina (East), and Maryland (West). As side notes, Marcus Paige has returned for Carolina and Cheick Diallo has been cleared for Kansas. Both figure to have significant impacts for the Tar Heels and Jayhawks. Thus, despite its loss at Northern Iowa (without Paige), UNC returns to the top line after beating Maryland.
Among the surprises in this morning’s update is Wake Forest. I don’t know if the Deacons have staying power, but early wins in Maui against Indiana and UCLA are enough to be included at this point. Monmouth also claims an at-large bid thanks to victories over UCLA, Notre Dame, and USC. The Hawks are among the last four teams with byes and losing at Canisius Friday night won’t help long term. But they’ve done well overall against a tough early schedule. On that topic, as the MAAC is the only league where every team has played a conference game, Iona earns the automatic bid for this bracket, pushing Monmouth into the at-large group – that’s why we have two teams from the MAAC (in today’s update).
Teams noticeably absent from the bracket – based on preseason expectations? Indiana, California, San Diego State, Texas, and LSU are the headliners, along with Florida State. We’ll see how those teams fare in December. It’s hard to imagine a few will not return to the bracket by the time weekly updates resume in January.
Early brackets are always a challenge because the data points are few. Slow starts, schedule strength, etc. are more difficult to weigh – Georgetown is a perfect example. Today’s update is more about a sneak peak at “where we stand today” than how the bracket may look in March.
With another big weekend ahead, the Seed List will be updated on Monday.